A man who was behind the wheel when a child was critically wounded in a road rage shooting this week on Lake Shore Drive was hit with a felony gun charge Thursday for possessing a weapon without proper state identification and later released from custody on a $500 bond.
Jushawn Brown, 43, was found with a handgun when police officers asked whether he had “anything he wasn’t supposed to have” while at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, where the 1-year-old boy was taken after being shot in the head, prosecutors said in court Thursday afternoon. Contrary to initial police reports, there was no evidence, prosecutors said, that Brown fired his weapon or displayed it during the road rage incident.
Prosecutors initially described Brown as the wounded boy’s grandfather, but a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office later clarified that he’s “in a relationship” with the boy’s grandmother.
Brown told the officers about the gun, which he called his “protection,” and allowed the officers to take the loaded 9 mm handgun from him, prosecutors said.
Shell casings recovered at the scene of the shooting did not match the gun.
Because of that, Judge Charles Beach said he would release Brown to be with his family but sternly warned him to not miss any court dates. Beach set his bail at $5,000, and Brown later posted the required $500 bond to be released.
“Mr. Brown, if there’s any time for being with your family and staying home with your family, now is that time,” Beach said.
Brown, of Englewood, was driving his car on Lake Shore Drive about 11:30 a.m. when an SUV that attempted to merge onto the highway nearly struck his car near Soldier Field, prosecutors said.
Brown pulled over and yelled at the driver of the SUV, and the two exchanged words until the driver of the SUV pulled out a gun and showed it to Brown while asking him, “What did he want to do about it,” prosecutors said.
Brown took out his own gun and placed it on his lap before attempting to drive away from the SUV, which followed him.
The driver of the SUV then fired several shots at Brown’s car near the Shedd Aquarium, striking the vehicle several times. One of the bullets entered through the rear passenger window where the boy was seated in a car seat, striking the toddler in the head.
Brown continued to drive north until he lost control of his car and crashed.
A good Samaritan picked up Brown, Brown’s girlfriend and the child and drove them to Northwestern Hospital for treatment. The boy was later transferred to Lurie Children’s Hospital.
The child, Kayden Swann, suffered a severe brain injury and was put in a medically-induced coma and on a ventilator, Dr. Marcelo Malakooti, medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Lurie, said. The boy has shown some signs of improvement, Malakooti said Thursday in the hospital’s most recent update about the boy’s condition.
Prosecutors said the driver of the SUV has not been taken into custody as police continue to investigate.
Earlier Thursday, officers shut down the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive near the Field Museum for about an hour to canvass the area as part of that investigation, police said.
An assistant public defender said Brown has two children, ages 16 and 21, and works as a machine operator at Blommer Chocolate Company.
Brown’s attorney asked for her client to be released on his own recognizance, saying he appeared to be a very “honest gentleman.”
Beach said that because there was no indication that the driver of the SUV even knew Brown had a weapon worked in his favor.
“Which means the other individual didn’t know you were armed and that was not a response to your actions. They were acting aggressively on their own accord,” Beach said.
However, the judge, citing the class 4 felony Brown faces — calling it a “serious offense” — said Brown should have to post some money to be released.
“The reality is that weapons unfortunately lead to this very scenario,” Beach said.
Brown was expected back in court Wednesday.